Nordic plastics film specialist Rani Plast Group has formed a new independent company, Tatrafan, which will include the group's jointly owned flexible packaging operations in Eastern Europe.
This new spin-off business comprises the joint venture biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) packaging film and conversion operations in Slovakia and Ukraine.
Together with specialized dielectric insulation film production, the packaging units were formerly run by Terichem, a 50-50 venture of Rani Plast of Finland and the Slovak firm Chemosvit.
But to differentiate between the group's technical insulation films and flexible packaging operations, the specialist technical business will continue to be run by Terichem, renamed in January as Terichem Tervakoski, to reflect the product brand name.
“We wanted to separate the companies because they produce different types of products and live their own lives. This way things become clearer,” explained Mikael Ahlbäck, CEO of Rani Plast Group.
Most of Tatrafan's packaging films are manufactured at a plant in Svit, Slovakia with packaging product conversion to bags carried out at Lutsk in western Ukraine. There, the company has invested several million euros in new machinery recently.
Further investment is promised for the Slovak site where output is set to grow. “We will also invest in the factory in Slovakia and expand the capacity there, as we want to be involved in building the packaging industry in the region,” announced Ahlbäck.
Meanwhile, Teerijärvi, Finland-based Rani Plast, a leading extruder of agricultural film, has begun commercial operation of what it says is the world's biggest agri-films extruder turning out film up to seven layers as wide as 22 meters.
The new line, custom-built by U.S. blown film extruder supplier Davis-Standard, required a roof extension in the machine hall to fit the line's 50 meter production tower. Part of a 16 million euro ($18.7 million) project by family-owned Rani Plast at its Teerijärvi unit, the line launched in January 2017.
Since summer, the line has been running full out to meet increased demand for wider agricultural film in Europe, in part required for ever bigger farm silos. The widest film is also used by biogas plants and in the turf industry, Rani Plast said.
“The machine is operating at full capacity, which means that we will be able to deliver films to the very end of this season,” predicted sales manager Christer Vidjeskog in May. The project is the group's single largest investment in its history.
Capacity at the Teerijärvi plant has doubled with the arrival of the new line and production overall there has grown by 10 percent, according to the group.